2005-09-24

Rita

At the moment, news report a lot about storm Rita and its damage on Texas and Louisiana. So I think we can be glad not to be confronted with such natural problems here in Germany.
But did you know that Rita, although weakening, remains dangerous. Damaging wind gusts, torrential rain and isolated tornadoes will persist along the path of the storm toward the ArkLaTex.
Despite the expected continued weakening of the system, excessive rain and inland flooding will remain major threats over eastern Texas, western Louisiana and southern Arkansas for the next several days as Rita is forecast to slow in its forward movement.
Rita is a Category 3 hurricane and there are surges as high as 15 to 20 feet.
Meanwhile, in the central and eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Kenneth is moving westward, while Tropical Storm Norma is pushing toward the NNW.
Fortunately, none of the storms poses any threat to land.
Vici

2005-09-22

Macbeth and the Goblet of Fire

Hello everybody!

We've finally received our copies of Macbeth and have started to read the first two scenes.
Well, the language of Shakespeare sounds really good, but it is very difficult to understand, so I think that we will need some time to get used to it. :-)
For everybody who may have wondered: yes, it's really Sean Bean (Boromir from Lord of the Rings) on the cover of the book. :-)
And if you open the book on page 16, then you can see another LotR-star there: Ian McKellen, Gandalf! Cool, isn't it?

And now the second part of my entry: the new Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire trailer is out!!!
If you want to watch it, here are two links:
http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/gobletoffire/index.html
http://onunterhaltung.t-online.de/c/55/53/12/5553124.html
It's really amazing (I had to watch it two times within 10 minutes *lol*), exciting and breathtaking.

So, enjoy the trailer and cu
Ina

German Election Inconclusive

In case you haven't seen any English newspaper commentary on the German elections yet, here's an excerpt from an article in the New York Times (19 Sept. 05):

"Schröder is playing a real tough power game now," said Claus Leggewie, a political scientist at Giessen University. "His argument is, "I have a won a plebiscite of the German people, but it's unreal because he has no majority."

Still, if the options for Mr. Schröder all seemed fraught with potential difficulty, those for Mrs. Merkel seemed equally tough. Only a few weeks ago, as the election campaign accelerated, polls showed Mrs. Merkel almost a sure winner, in combination with the Free Democrats, so much so that she was almost treated in the German press as if she had already become Germany's first woman chancellor.

Mrs. Merkel seemed to have every advantage given Germany's actual situation - especially an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent that Mr. Schröder, despite many promises, had conspicuously failed to reduce. This failure was the reason for several embarrassing losses in state elections during the fall for the Social Democrats. Indeed it was one such loss, in North Rhine Westphalia in the spring, that led Mr. Schröder to call for early elections, a gesture that at the time was widely interpreted as a way for Mr. Schröder to engineer an early departure from German politics.

But Mrs. Merkel, who campaigned on what she called the need for a thoroughgoing reform to revitalize the German economy, led what many analysts, and, apparently, the German public, felt to be a weak, unfocused and even self-contradictory campaign. Mr. Schröder, meanwhile, made speech after speech hammering at the point that Mrs. Merkel's proposed reforms would mean new inequality in Germany, as well as an end to Germany's traditional social welfare system.

"In my perspective, the majority of the German population is still not ready to accept a real hard reform course," said Uwe Andersen , a political scientist at Ruhr University in Bochum.

2005-09-21

A government by the people... here and there

Hallo everybody!

I’m quite sure you all remember last Sunday when we went to our polling stations.I think most of us had surprised amazement all over our faces watching the news broadcasting latest calculations in the evening.We heard a lot of politicians talk about them being the winners although nearly all of them lost votes – compared to 2002 results. As I see it, it was lots of fun watching them (mis)interpreting the results and commentating on them. If you listened closely to some people’s arguments you discovered anything – but logical consequences: one maintained being the biggest parliament party by separating other parties’ shares, others accused each other of being undemocratic by excluding parties from negotiations in an effort to form a coalition that would command a parliamentary majority and simultaneously promising to never talk to another party about governing together.

A part from a coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD are a lot of further ones possible – theoretically: because of the still current government refusing to govern in coalition with the newly founded left party, there are the “traffic lights”-solutions. Both a coalition of red-yellow-green and of black-yellow-green, the so-called Jamaica Coalition, are mathematically doable.

But the far more interesting question for me is who is going to be our next chancellor? In my personal view there are three possibilities: Probably it will be our first female chancellor Angela Merkel, or the chancellor of the medias Gerhard Schröder for one more time – or, which is a quite exciting thought – somebody completely different – if the Federal President dissolves the Parliament to ask the people to vote once again after some unsuccessful elections after October 18th. (According to our Constitution, the newly elected Parliament has 30 days to hold its first meeting, at which presumably it would elect a chancellor.)

Today I read that more than 70% of the Germans are unsatisfied with the results of the election. About 30% are in favour of a coalition of Social Democrats and the Christian Democratic Union.

Today, Angela Merkel talked with the leaders of her party's traditional coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, even though the election left the two parties combined about a dozen seats short of a majority. That means that she still needs to find support from another party, and it was unclear where that support would come from. One possibility is the Green Party, which is now Mr. Schröder's coalition partner. And Christian Democratic officials said that talks would be held with the Greens too.

I am not that confident if you noticed that Afghanistan voted its first Parliament for more than 30 years. Despite scattered reports of shootings and attempted sabotage that left five people dead during the day and two police officers dead on the eve of the election, the vast bulk of the voting went remarkably smoothly.

About 50% of the 12,4 million registered voters chose a candidate of 5800. This astonishing number probably confused some of the voters – so they stayed at home. About 10% of all candidates were women who were especially encouraged to try to get elected to integrate women in the new established political system and daily life. The results will be announced next month.

The first democratic election in Afghanistan after the war is considered a big step toward a stable democracy...

Perhaps we should think different about our election which was so perfectly natural for us.

A good night to you,

Caro

2005-09-14

Your final year

Welcome to your final year at this school!

I wish you lots of success - may you get fantastic marks (or grades, if you like).
But even more important: I hope you'll enjoy your final year, although much of it is hard work.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.